The Haydn Project at Freight and Salvage

Nov 18, 2014 / By admin
Posted in Berkeley / Culture Vulture / East Bay / Good Ideas / Magazine / Travel


The bright lights of the marquee over Downtown Berkeley’s Freight and Salvage Theater are usually unconventional: “Learn  Banjo, Ukelele, Asleep at the Wheel Western Swing, One Night Only – The Haydn Project.” The glow emanates down onto the sidewalk, filling my pathway from the nearby garage with a pool of light. Watching my footsteps, Ican make out inlaid poems and low-lying sculptures worn into the pavement on this block of Addison Street, where the economic struggles of Shattuck Avenue tends not to trickle. This area is padded with culture. There is the Aurora Playhouse and The Berkeley Jazz School tucked into the bricks and stoic concrete facades.

The Freight and Salvage has offered concerts since the late 70’s, although this current location is new in the last few years. It still refers to itself as a coffee… Read more»

San Francisco’s Open Studios

Nov 10, 2014 / By admin
Posted in Culture Vulture / Good Ideas / Magazine / San Francisco / Travel

save the piercombopsd
Fort Mason on a Sunday. Farmers’ Market stalls laden with early November tomatoes, a reminder of drought, a meaty breeze blowing from the German sausage stand, pregnant women toddling in hoards towards a baby fair, serious couples with striped shirts and sophisticated sunglass frames and Jack Russell terriers, a line of bearded men and their friends pouring out of Greens to Go restaurant, seagulls and grackles fluttering for detritus. It is a supremely San Franciscan chaos, full of all the signs that this city is being itself.

I climbed above the Italian Institute in building C where ten first graders where attacking a horse sculpture up the iron staircase where I was promised a glimpse at art. I am beginning to second guess the use of that word, coming from a school of thought that doesn’t agree a person… Read more»

Saul’s Deli, a place for delicious comfort

Nov 6, 2014 / By admin
Posted in Berkeley / Culture Vulture / East Bay / Food / Good Ideas / Magazine / Travel

pastrami sandwich by t bet
Driving along Shattuck Avenue from North Oakland to North Berkeley I sometimes feel like I am sharing the road with giant Gobstoppers, colorful, uncoordinated balls of saccharine. It’s a sort of transportational dodgeball on a crowded weekend afternoon. My mother reminds me to start our parking mantra early: “a perfect parking place is now opening up for our use.” It always works when she does it.

We find ourselves squarely in front of our chosen restaurant. Saul’s gives me a reprieve from the indecisive rush outside, the smells of chicken broth and steaming corn beef could convey even the most hardened Berkeleyite to comfort. The place is only shuttered for Yom Kippur, Thanksgiving, and New Year’s Day – for the other 362 days it plays living room to a panoply of people.

Peter and Karen, the steadfast owners,… Read more»

Touring the Santa Barbara Public Market

Apr 21, 2014 / By admin
Posted in Good Ideas / Kitchen Adventures / Santa Barbara / Travel

Steel and glass and succulents outline the Santa Barbara Public Market, a paradise of flavor that opened its doors this April 14th. The well-lit market greeted me with wafts of desire. Upon entering, I thought I had been transported to Manhattan’s Eataly or some futuristic iteration of the Reading Terminal Market I grew up salivating over.

I passed by a glass case of fresh pasta – squid ink strands and striped torteloni, hand-formed orichiette and bands of papardelle. To my right was a bank of tinted glass barrels full of golden green olive oils, all harvested in California, sat ready for tasting. Passing by Culture Counter I learned about Brillant Savarign cheese, how to pronounce it and the about the eponymous general from a consummate Frenchman with sophisticated glasses frames. Cases of aged beef and whole corvina cradled a busy noodle bar and a… Read more»

Witnessing Oakland, and musing over matzoh brei

Apr 18, 2014 / By admin
Posted in Culture Vulture / Good Ideas / Magazine / Oakland / Travel

Eating a plateful of matzoh brei got me thinking. Not of the escaped slaves fleeing across deserts with no time for leavening, but of baseball. And Oakland.

Will the A’s stay or will they go? This question has been itching the back of my brain for years now, teasing with the taunts of Fremont, Jack London Square, and now the Coliseum City project, which is not quite settled.

After there seemed a lull in talk about the A’s moving south to Fremont, I was shocked back to attention when I talked to Peerless Coffee and East Bay Restaurant Supply’s second and third generation owners. They told me there was an idea of calling imminent domain and creating a new ballpark on their footprints in the eastern part of Jack London Square. It would be hard, even impossible for them to relocate within city limits.

Now, as our mayor Jean Quan enters the… Read more»